At this time in 2020, many large agency networks viewed COVID-19 as an existential threat, one that might force them to shed staff and downsize their geographical footprints. This year, the network landscape is vastly different, with nearly every large organization thriving in most ways that matter and some that don’t. Here are recaps of second-quarter results presentations for two of the healthcare world’s biggest of the big, Omnicom and Interpublic.


Last year during Q2, the world was under lockdown at the height of the pandemic, causing business performance to plummet for large marketers and their agencies.

One year later, that’s turning around, as evidenced by Omnicom’s strong double-digit growth across regions in Q2 2021. Organic growth globally rose 24% in Q2 to $682 million, leading worldwide revenues to clock in up 27.5% at $3.57 billion.

The rebound was driven by double-digit growth across regions and disciplines, said CEO John Wren on Omnicom’s Q2 earnings call on Tuesday. “We’ve rounded the corner into positive growth,” he said.

Across disciplines, Omnicom’s advertising business grew 29.8% globally, CRM precision marketing grew 25% and CRM commerce and brand consulting grew 15.2%. PR grew 15.1% and healthcare grew 4.5% off stronger year-over-year comps (healthcare was the only discipline that grew in Q2 2020.)

CRM experiential, which includes Omnicom’s events and experiential businesses, grew 53% year over year, indicating a strong appetite for a return to live events once conditions are safe. Wren added that in China, where the pandemic has been under control for longer, the events business had “a strong quarter.”

Omnicom also grew double digits across all regions, including 19.9% in the United States and 37.1% in other North American markets; 23.8% in the United Kingdom and 34.5% in other European markets; and 27.8% in APAC. Growth also increased 20.8% in Latin America and 42.8% in the Middle East and Africa.

“We expect to continue to see positive organic growth as client spend increases,” Wren said, “albeit at a slower pace than Q2.”

The strong results were bolstered by the sale of ICON International, Omincom’s barter agency, resulting in $50.1 million in operating profit. Omnicom is now “substantially complete with disposals” and will look for “accretive acquisitions in precision marketing, martech and digital transformation, commerce, media and healthcare,” Wren said.

“It’s almost back to the early 2000s in terms of the number of companies we’re looking at [for M&A],” Wren said.


IPG posted strong Q2 results on Wednesday, following Omnicom yesterday in demonstrating that the advertising industry is on the rebound after a difficult 12 months. 

Organic revenue grew 19.8% year over year in Q2, with net revenues clocking in at $2.27 billion. Despite the backdrop of a 9.9% dip in Q2 2020, IPG’s worst performing quarter during the pandemic, organic growth still increased 7.9% over Q2 2019.

The results “demonstrate our resilience, represent a remarkable rebound from the impact of the pandemic, and is also the largest second quarter in our company’s history,” said IPG CEO Philippe Krakowsky on the earnings call. 

Organic growth increased across all regions, including 7.4% in the U.S., led by media, data and tech, as well as by FCB Health, DCTRA, McCann, MullenLowe and Huge. 

The UK grew 18.7% organically led by McCann, DXTRA, media, data  and technology and R/GA; continental Europe grew 27.9% with strength in Germany, Spain and France.

Asia Pacific posted 14% organic growth, led by Australia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and India. Japan and China decreased organically. LATAM was the strongest region, up 49% year over year. 

International markets, which made up 37% of IPG’s net revenues in the quarter, grew 24.4% organically, over a 13.1% decrease in Q2 2020.  

By segment, IPG’s integrated agency networks grew 20.5% organically, led by media, data technology and healthcare. At DXTRA,  IPG’s PR and experiential group, organic growth was 15.1% with increases in experiential spend — a sign of return to normalcy. 

The strong results, driven by double digit spending increases across IPG’s eight major client sectors (including auto, retail, CPG, tech and telecom, healthcare, food and beverage and financial services), led IPG to increase its fully year outlook to between 9% and 10% organic growth, up from a projection of 5% to 6% organic growth earlier this year.

“We all understand that lagging vaccination rates in many parts of the world, and the emergence of new variants, may entail higher COVID risks, which is something we will watch closely as we enter the second half of the year, and especially our seasonally important fourth quarter,” Krakowsky said.